We decided to try out a balti house in the famous Birmingham Balti Triangle. For those not in the know, the word ‘balti’ actually refers to the bowl that the dish is served and is thought to originate from the Urdu word balty, meaning ‘bucket’. There are balti houses all over the Greater Birmingham area, but there is a real concentration in the Balti Triangle, also there’s a very Asian atmosphere with lots of shops selling Asian produce or clothing too. We picked out the Diwan Balti because it was on the nearest edge of the triangle to us and looked very promising. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones who thought so as there were quite a few people in there for early on a Friday evening and it turns out that David Cameron had been there in the past. Apparently David Cameron and his wife Samantha celebrated David’s 46th birthday at the restaurant and you can even order the same complete meal as him as it features in a special section on the menu.
We started the meal with some popadoms whilst we mulled over our choices from the menu. The service was quick and attentive. We asked for some starters to be served with the main course and others as starters and all was accomplished as we asked. We sampled a seekh kebab, made from minced lamb mixed with onion, herbs and spices, cooked in a charcoal oven on skewers. Also on our wishlist was the chicken tikka and the tandoori chicken (young spring chicken marinated in yoghurt with herbs and spices, barbecued in a tandoor) and both of these had the delicate spicy taste that I’ve come to expect.
For our main course, we had to have a balti of course. It’s traditional to eat your balti without using a knife and fork and to just tear off pieces of your naan bread to scoop the food onto. It works very well, but I must admit I prefer to have my balti with a portion of rice mixed in and then share a naan bread with a friend. This is just what we did. Having had a chicken starter, I thought a lamb balti would be just the thing for my main course. It’s a medium strength curry, but you can ask the restaurant to tone it down or spice it up to suit your taste buds. I find baltis have quite a light sauce which doesn’t sit too heavily, which is just as well as the portions were generous and the naan was pretty large given it was meant for one. That said it was quickly snaffled up and in fact, I hadn’t anticipated that my son would eat quite so much of it, or I would have ordered two.
Travelodge kindly sent us along to try out a restaurant in the Balti Triangle and if you are staying in Birmingham and like Asian cuisine, a trip to the Balti Triangle is a must.
Disclosure: This post is in association with Travelodge.